Bring Me The Horizon - 'Sempiternal'
When Bring Me The Horizon announced that they were releasing a new album, there were probably fewer people more excited than I was. It was preordered as soon as I knew about it, and checked for leaks and new tracks almost daily. When I first got my hands on the album, however, I was pretty disappointed. About a week after my first few listens and being "disappointed", I put it on again, and it took another dimension; and since I've realised the album is actually very, very good. See, I believe for the traditional BMTH listeners, you need to cast to the wayside your expectations and predispositions of what a BMTH album should sound like.
If we're keeping track of the progression of the (probably?) the UK's biggest metalcore-come-hard-rock band then there are some significant aural changes in Sempiternal. The most noticeable, is the continued reduction in Oli's screams and shrieks I remember so fondly, to a more almost-shout. The transformation is very similar to that of Avenged Sevenfold's M.Shadows over their first 4 albums also. Though, Oli's voice does maintain that metalcore background, and after ditching my expectations, those moments when Sykes unleashes his ferocious snarls and growls are absolute ecstasy.
If you've been following the 'scene', you'll also know that Isolated Nation poster boy Jona Weinhofen was .... well..... he is no longer in the band, and they have brought in Jordan Fish on keyboards and programming. As you would expect, replacing (who we believe) one of the best metalcore riff-writers with electronic factors will change your sound dramatically. While Sykes and the other BMTH members claim that Jona did not record or write any of the material on the album, I find this increasingly hard to believe, as the album as recorded July-September 2012, and Jona was in the band until January of this year.
In the 2008 release 'Suicide Season' and 2010's 'There Is A Hell, Believe Me I've Seen it. There Is A Heaven, Let's Keep It A Secret' (Still the most ridiculous obscenely-long album title in the heavy scene I would think) did use some electronic/keyboard/synth tracks, in this release they are present on almost every track. There are song where this pays off in spades, notably 'Empire (Let Them Sing)' where the drama created with synths allows the massive contrast in the verses. However, for the most of the album the synths themselves appear to be forced into the tracks, where as they work better as purely mood-creating devices. The electronic/programming elements and random sporadic sounds work well at creating a uniqueness of the sound, but these have been present since 'Suicide Season'.
Lyrically and thematically I don't feel there is a lot of maturing, but this has never been an issue for me. BMTH have always been able to create those phrases that when you playback a song you just want to scream at the top of your lungs. In this album, memorably in 'Go To Hell, For Heaven's Sake' with the line(s) ;
"You're not a shepard, you're just a sheep, I'll cut my depths of everyone you meet."
And while not complex in the slightest, the second single 'Anti-vist'; "Middle fingers up! If you don't give a fuck! I'm sick to death of swallowing everything I'm fed!",
While the bridge protests; "There will be no peaceful revolution! No war without blood! You can say I'm just a fool that stands for nothing, well to that, I say you're a cunt!".
This song probably demonstrates Bring Me The Horizon at their "new" best; blending elements of hardcore, punk, metalcore and rock to create and anthem-ic track that will not bore you.
Over the course of 'Sempiternal', I was very impressed with the use of percussion and drums in a fashion to dictate the entire feel of a segment. Rather than simply being the fuel that drives a track forward. I'd assume the credit would solely go to Matt Nicholls for spending a lot of time writing.
As a whole the album is a bit of a blend of different ideas and sounds. 'And the Snakes Start to Sing' and 'Can You Feel My Heart' really demonstrate the vocal change and (attempt at) growth by Oli. The final track 'Hospital for Souls', I don't know what this fucking track is really. I hope it's not an indicator of things to come from the Sheffield band, because the themes are very similar to everything Oli has every sung about ever, "I'm sad, I'm losing my mind, I think I'm going to kill myself" [NB: not actual lyrics] ; but I think he needs to cut it. The high screams in this track were a sneaky way to try and draw in the old listener, but for the most part I feel like I'm listening to a weird Evanescence track with male vocals. The use of synthesizers was good here, however.
I'll be the first to admit that the majority of my criticisms would likely stem from my desire to hear an album similar to 'Count Your Blessings' (still), but I will admit that it is a good album. The production is solid (though sometimes over-done for sure). It's the first release by the band on RCA (Sony), and were apparently told to make the heaviest album ever, instead of dictating a change. So I guess this is a voluntary change in sound; and who can blame anyone from wanting to change up a little after 9 years of playing together. As I said to begin with, if you're an old-school BMTH fan, give it a week or two, because it is a really good album.
Bring Me The Horizon - Anti-Vist
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